Reitz High School

Reitz High School
Evansville, IN

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2 of 10 Essential Qualities of an eLearning Coach

Reitz High School
Evansville, IN
In last week's article I explained the role and defined the term of an eLearning coach.  I also spotlighted the first quality, which was establishing positive relationships.  I believe that all of the other qualities stem off of that first quality.  In other words, it would be difficult for a coach to display the other nine qualities until the relationships are developed.  I also think that the other nine qualities can help harvest good relationships.  In this series, you are going to realize that all of these qualities work together.

In my opinion, the second most important quality is the ability to be flexible/selfless.  The definition of flex is the ability to alter and adapt your style according to the situation, context, and circumstances you are experiencing.  I feel an eLearning coach must be a servant.  People in this day and age do not like to be put off or have to wait.  You must have an attitude to do whatever and whenever to accommodate administrators, teachers, and students.  We see so many different personalities in our field.  Some are strong and some are not.  Adapting to each individual educator's style and building climate is a necessity.  Because our job is ever changing and the needs of each building that we work with are different, we need to serve our populations of students and staffs using a variety of methods.

Perry Heights Middle School
Evansville, IN
A 21st century leader must follow the old Chinese proverb, “The wise adapt themselves to circumstances as water molds itself to the pitcher."  You have to go with the flow and roll with what comes at you.  We need to be able to put our agenda aside and lend a hand to provide help when a teacher needs it.  We do not want the transition to technology to be frustrating.  Understand that people are “wired” differently.  This affects their desire for changes. Some find change, such as technology and the digital shift, exciting and welcome it.  Others find it threatening and reject it. Knowing how individuals will respond can help you customize your communication to get everyone on board.

Helfrich Park STEM Academy
Evansville, IN
To get in the mode of being flexible and selfless, you have to get over your ego.  Successful leaders naturally think less of “me” and more of “we.”  There is not room for bullying and controlling power trips.  Ben Dattner, adjunct professor at New York University, says, “Twenty-first century leaders might benefit from thinking of themselves as being in the center of a web rather than on top of a pyramid.”  I like this illustration because we then do not see ourselves as being too important to help someone.  The web puts us right in the middle to serve a variety of people as quickly as possible.  I don't think it is any coincidence that a web is flexible and can sway with the wind.  It can also withstand a lot of shifting around and abuse. 

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post.  These qualities all work together harmoniously.  When your administrators and staff see that you are willing to work with them and accommodate them, they will believe that you care about them.  Your relationships will grow and maintaining an effective relationship is key.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

1 of 10 Essential Qualities of an eLearning Coach

Tim Wilhelmus
Before I start this series about eLearning coach qualities, I would like to define the title and role of eLearning coach.  An eLearning coach provides professional development for administrators, teachers, students and other school staff.  This professional development is where web 2.0 tools, resources, practical content, strategies, and digital citizenship lessons are shared.  Teachers and administrators can take this material to design and develop curriculum in which technology is integrated in a safe environment.  The role of an eLearning coach is an essential part of successful technology integration in the classroom.  The absence of a coach would result in the improper use or no use of technology due to the lack of ongoing training.  The training should never end.  For example, when an NFL team wins The Super bowl, do they get rid of the coach the following season?  I think not.  In fact a coach is needed more than ever to keep the momentum rolling.  Without the coach the team may become stagnant and complacent believing they cannot improve.  That is a setup for defeat.

The first essential quality that I would like to spotlight today is the ability to build relationships with the administration, staff, and students that you work with.  It really doesn’t matter what you know or how great you are if people do not like or respect you.  So how do you build a good relationship with the people you work with?

Kim Hendrick
Just like winning over the students in your classroom, the staff has to believe you care about them.  Respond to emails and requests in a timely manner.  Not getting a response can turn people off very quickly.  Follow through on what you tell people you will do.  People will lose faith in you quickly if you just say what they want to hear and do not carry it out.  Be respectful to all staff members, even if you do not like everyone.  Don’t pretend to have all of the answers.  No one likes a know it all.  It is OK not to be an expert in everything.  Be a learner along side the people you are coaching.  Use tasteful humor.  Most people like and need a good laugh during the school day.  When differences in opinions arise, work to understand the other person’s perspective.  Again, you might just learn something.  Sometimes you can just agree to disagree.  Communicate well and with respect.  Be sincere and passionate about the work that you do. 

I believe if you follow those guidelines, great relationships will bloom between you and the folks that you work with.  Once a great relationship and rapport is established, there is no limit to what you can do.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Welcome to the 2013-2014 School Year

We can now put the summer of 2013 in the books.  I hope everyone had a great and restful summer.  I know my blogging for the past few months has been hit and miss, but starting this week the blog should be back to a weekly basis.  I intend to start out with a series on the qualities of an eLearning coach.  With more and more school districts going to 1:1, eLearning coaches are essential for the program to be successful.  I hope you will join me this year as we cover many great topics that I hope will be beneficial to you!  As always, feel free to check out the blog archives.  There are many good articles with useful tools and information. 

I would also like to plug my tools website.  The tools on this website are free and teacher friendly.  It is a constant work in progress.  My colleague Tim Wilhelmus and I will be adding new material each month, so check back often.  The web address for that is

Many Indiana schools started back today and I am sure many parents are rejoicing.  This summer was fantastic!  I feel honored to have presented at three different eLearning conferences.   Many Indiana educators took time out of their summer to attend and present at The Summer of eLearning conferences.  These conferences were held around the state where many sessions were offered to help teachers, administrators, and coaches to utilize technology in the classroom.

Here is a Summer of eLearning video that Jason Bailey, the senior eLearning strategist for the Indiana Department of Education, put together.  Enjoy!